By Jonny Stapleton
Irish contender Andy Lee believes he is the only 160 pound fighter that can dethrone the middleweight ring king Sergio Martinez.
The Kronk fighter seems to be having an out of ring fight with fellow Irish middleweight contender Matthew Macklin for the right to challenge the Argentine in New York on St Patrick’s Day, but believes he is in Martinez pole.
Fresh off his revenge victory over Brian Vera Lee claimed he has earned his title shot and believes there is no one more deserving or equipped to the fight the WBC Diamond champion.
The Emanuel Steward trained Limerick man believes his time has come.
“I believe I’m the only middleweight out there that can really beat Martinez because I am the only one who has something different to offer him,” Lee explained.
“I am firmly a middleweight contender now. I worked my way up with two good performances on HBO, I’ve had 28 fights, I’ve avenged my only loss. Who else is out there that could challenge him? There’s nobody else out there who’s in a better position than me. I’m active, I’m younger, and I’m ready for it. Now is my time. My time is coming soon.”
There are other world title routes open to the Kronx southpaw with four other champions at the weight.
Lee, however doesn’t want to settle for world champion status he wants to be know as the best 160 pound fighter in the world and believes the only way he can prove that is by beating the 36 year old.
“I want to fight Martinez. He’s the recognized number one middleweight in the world. So what’s the point in fighting anybody else because I could fight one of the other champions, but I still have to beat Martinez to be considered the best. So I want to fight him. By the first quarter of next year I want to be fighting Martinez for the title.
Martinez, who is deemed by some to be one of the three best fighters on the planet at present has his set on some pound for pound clashes, but Lee suggests none of the big names want to risk fighting the awkward middleweight.
As a result the 36 year old will have to choose a leading middleweight contender for his next bout.
“I know Martinez is looking for a big fight with a big name like Cotto, Pacquiao, Mayweather, all those guys. But his problem is that he’s too good. He might not get those fights because he’s too big for those guys and too good for those guys. He might not get those fights, so he’ll have to look at middleweight, and that’s what I am.”